The Akwa Ibom State Youth Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Stephen Ntukekpo has accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the State, Mr. Mike Igini of being an agent of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement in Uyo on Thursday, he lamented the continued retention of Igini as REC in spite of his alleged open support for the PDP and faulted the fresh election scheduled for Saturday January 25 in Essien Udim Local Government Area, saying that it lacked the backing of a valid court order.
According to Ntukekpo, “Mr. Igini has shown himself to be biased against the All Progressives Congress – manipulating elections in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party, yet, has remained as Resident Electoral Commissioner in spite of “many proven incidents of bias against APC.””
He alleged further: “Mike Igini continues to preside over INEC Akwa Ibom State despite proven incidents of bias against APC. He declared every candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party winner in the 2019 elections.
When Chief Godswill Akpabio challenged him in court over the Senatorial election in Akwa Ibom South Senatorial zone, the Court of Appeal voided supposed PDP victory declared by Igini and ordered the retrieval of the certificate of return given to the PDP senator by INEC.
“In the State Assembly elections, Hon. Nse Ntuen won Essien Udim State Constituency, was declared winner and duly returned elected by Professor Ignatius Uduk of INEC but Mike Igini refused to give him a certificate of return ostensibly because he was of APC. Hon. Ntuen approached the tribunal and it ruled in his favour. PDP rushed to the Court of Appeal which upheld the ruling in favour of APC’s candidate but in a surprising twist, Mr. Igini cross appealed and misinterpreted the ruling to mean that a fresh election should be conducted. Now, without the backing of a valid court order, we are supposedly going back to the polls in Essien Udim Local Government Area on Saturday, January 25, 2020.
“Even more shocking than the said fresh election is the fact that the REC has been openly campaigning for the PDP candidate and has also sidelined the thirty-one INEC election officers in Akwa Ibom State, choosing to bring in a cousin, Vincent Ogene who is an election officer in Anambra State to do his hatchet job. Where lies Igini’s conscience?”
The APC youth leader posited that it was due mainly to the INEC REC that Sen. Godswill Akpabio opted out of the Senate rerun election.
He insisted that the Niger Delta Minister, declined to be part of the election not just because of his higher portfolio as a Minister of the Federal Republic, but also because he knew that the REC was compromised and the process would be far from transparent.
“With Mike Igini having redeployed his cousin from Anambra to Akwa-Ibom for the purpose of this election, it has become very clear that the plan is to electorally bury APC in the state by rigging out the Party in Essien Udim LGA, its most strategic stronghold and this plan must be foiled as it is against the very principles of democracy which INEC ought to uphold,” the APC leader alleged.